Monday, 13 October 2014

Picture of the Day: Where Has My Dream City Gone?

A relevant sign for the events that happened today
The relaxing atmosphere at Admiralty over the weekend came to a crashing end early this morning when police began taking down the barricades at Queensway and Chater Road in Central to allow vehicular traffic through.

Protesters there quickly set up other barricades to slow down cars and trucks, much to the dismay of the drivers.

Then in the early afternoon, some 500 anti-Occupy protesters showed up wearing masks and began dismantling the barricades on Queensway again. They were also backed up by a fleet of taxis and the drivers honked their horns demanding to be let through.

This led to a nasty confrontation between them and the protesters, and the police had to intervene, holding back both sides. One anti-Occupy protester had a knife and had to be subdued by the authorities.

Again there were complaints the police weren't reacting fast enough to protect the protesters, and again there were rumblings the anti-Occupy group had some triad elements... otherwise why would several hundred people show up all of a sudden together in the same place, many of whom could not speak Cantonese?

As a friend dryly suggested, someone couldn't rustle enough Hong Kong-based triad members to rough things up in the city?

Tonight after dinner, YTSL and I again headed to Admiralty via Central. Chater Road and part of Connaught Road Central were re-opened, so cars could go along Chater, turn left at the Hong Kong Club building and then left again onto Connaught Road. Now the lonely doorman at the Mandarin Oriental is a bit busier now...

However there was a heavier police presence than I had ever seen previously outside the barricades at Central. Beyond that though, protesters were very busy hauling water, perhaps to make cement to reinforce barricades. They took water from a fountain at the Hutchinson Whampoa building which seemed appropriate...

Others were reportedly making more barricades out of bamboo poles given to them by construction workers, who taught the protesters how to bind them together. It's a great community effort.

But most poignant was this sign I spotted on the way to Admiralty -- which by the way had a huge turnout this evening.

What has happened to my city? Why have some people become violent? Some groups who haven't been able to make much money these two weeks have petitioned the courts to try to legally force the protesters to move out. Isn't that a more civilized way to do things?

It will be interesting to see how the judge rules on this because what the protesters are doing is civil disobedience, but they are doing it for the common good...

In the meantime, I hope things do not escalate further. We cannot afford to have more violent clashes. What is happening demonstrates the inaction by the government in not speaking to the students on Friday, leaving frustrations to simmer even more.

We need dialogue. The students are willing to talk. How about meeting them at the table, Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor?

You are perhaps the only person who can help break the impasse at this moment and make birthday boy Joshua Wong Chi-fung's wishes come true.






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